Saturday, 30 June 2018

My Quilt4Kindness Journey for Project Linus {Part One & Giveaway}

As you might have guessed by the title of this post I am joining in with my very first quilt along. If you have followed Us Two Plus You for a while you will know that I enjoy getting the time to sew. I've made all manor of items but I have never attempted to quilt. It's a craft I have looked at from afar but one I am very interested in. When I was contacted by Crafter's Companion and asked to join in their new campaign in Sew Inspired Magazine I was intrigued. Once I found out that the whole project was for Project Linus UK I knew it was something that I had to do! 

Crafter's Companion provide a huge selection of craft supplies in over 30 countries worldwide. It's founder Sara Davies MBE started the company over a decade ago with her idea of a tool which allows your to personalise envelopes. They have launched the Quilt4Kindness campaign in Sew Inspired Magazine for the whole year to bring out four special issues which include all the instructions you need to join in with this Quilt4Kindness campaign with the hope that the quilts made with the project could be donated to Project Linus UK. You can see Issue one above.

If you've never heard of Project Linus UK before they are a volunteer organisation here in the UK who provide handmade blankets and quilts to babies, children and teenagers who that have been traumatised or sick. It all started in the US in 1995 when Karen Loucks saw an article in her local newspaper about how a blanket helped a child with cancer. After reading the article she took it upon herself to organise some blankets for her local children's cancer ward. Since then it has grown immensely and across the UK the Project Linus UK team deliver around 3,500 blankets and quilts each month! It's incredible! 

The aim of Project Linus UK is to help as many babies, children and teenagers as they can. These blankets and quilts help them to show children and teenagers that someone is really there, someone cares and the simple comfort of a beautiful quilt to envelop them. The reality is that there are many babies, children and teenagers who don't have that, who feel alone and unloved in the UK. This project is one which touches our lives. Simon was one of these teenagers. For a lot of his teenage years he lived in a care home. We all have our own idea of what a care home can be but have many of us really experienced what it is like to truly be in one? I for one cannot say I have. I have seen it, watched as so many children lived together with a never ending rotation of staff who are literally paid to look after them. Yes they have some great relationships but they do have some moments of complete hopelessness. It's in these moments that I know Project Linus UK are making the difference. It's not just those in care which are touched by Project Linus UK but babies in the ICU at hospitals across the UK, families who are homeless, those in women's refugee, hospice, foster homes and more. 

The first issue of Sew Inspired Magazine was brought out in the spring of this year with the first part of Quilt4Kindness inside. I had my first Sew Inspired Magazine arrive earlier this month along with the Quilting Starter Kit that has been created to help any readers who want to take part in the Quilt4Kindness campaign Inside each kit is a 45mm universal rotary cutter, A3 cutting mat and a 6x12 inch acrylic ruler. Each is an essential when it comes to quilting so this kit is perfect for beginners like me.

I did also receive a bundle of fat quarters from Crafter's Companion, I decided to choose the Threaders Fat Quarters Bundle in cottontail. I really like the pastel colours and patterns included in the set. I think they will work very well in a quilt and a Fat Quarter is just about the size needed for each colour in the quilt I am following in the Quilt4kindness campaign. 

The first step I needed to take in creating my quilt is to read through the instructions in issue one of Sew Inspired Magazine. Once I had an idea of what it is the finished quilt will look like and which designs will be used to create each section I could make a plan. Armed with a note book and a pen I set out to create a basic idea of what fabrics I will use and where I will need each to be. As you can see above, the plan was basic and easy to follow at a quick glance. Just what I need if I get confused or need to double check a detail at a moments notice.

 With my plan and all my tools I was ready to get hands on! The first step I wanted to take was to iron all of my fabric. It's not mentioned in the Sew Inspired Magazine but I do iron all my fabric before sewing with it. Once I had my fabric ready I started to draw out all the shapes I would need from the fabric for the hourglass and churn dash blocks. I had decided that the hourglass block would be the first I would make. I did choose this as it looked slightly easier!

Now that I had all my pieces ironed and cut it was time for the actual sewing. I am using my trusty brother sewing machine which actually belonged to my mum before me! It's not a quilting machine but I think we should be okay. I always find that different fabrics will need some tension  adjusting so I usually take a minute and a little piece of each fabric that isnq't being used. (An inch or two is more than enough.) I would  run two layers through the machine, this let's me adjust the tension as I need it. I found this first block pretty easy to follow. I liked that the instructions have been well thought out to help give you as little sewing and cutting as possible. It's easy to follow and in places can half the amount of work you'd need to do.

Around an hour after I started to sew the hourglass block I had my first complete block! For this block I chose to use the grey and pink fabrics from the Threaders Fat Quarter Bundle along with a plain white and plain dark pink fabric which I already had. 

Since I am doing most of my sewing at night once the children are in bed I did stop and move onto block number two a few days later. The Churn Dash Block had me feeling a little nervous at first,it looks much more complicated in the photos. I decided to take each step slowly and to take a bit of time to completely organise everything I would need. I got all eight pieces of fabric and laid them out ready to start.

Once I got going and really read through the instructions a few times I found my groove. Before long I had reached the finial stages of the Churn Dash Block and I was pretty impressed with myself. I had worried so much over nothing.

 It wasn't nearly as hard as it looked and with an easy to follow diagram for assembly of the full block I was ready to give it a go too. I followed the diagram and watched as each piece added to the overall effect. I loved that the patterns in the fabric really pop out compared to the plain colours. It's a little extra that I like. I would say that when your making this piece you pay attention to any grain in the fabric with pattern while cutting the shapes. I did manage to cut a few in the wrong places. It doesn't seem too noticeable and it does make it much more handmade! 

There we have it! My first two blocks for my quilt. It's so exciting to see these come together.You can really see just how these fabrics are all going to work together in the quilt as a whole. 

You can join in with the Quilt4Kindness campaign too. It is a lovely way to follow along and learn a new skill. At the end of the year there will be a full and completed quilt which you can either keep or if you'd like to you can consider donating your finished quilt to Project Linus UK to help someone who really does need a little reminding that someone is there from time to time. 

You can get your own Issue 11 of  Sew Inspired Magazine for £9.99, the Cottontail Fat Quarter bundle from Threaders for £15.99 and a Quilting Starter Kit for £34.99

Crafter's Companion have very kindly given us another Quilting Starter Kit to giveaway to one of our lucky readers! To enter just follow the steps in the Gleam entry form below. Please take a minute to read through our terms and conditions before entering.

Terms and Conditions
  • Entrants must be aged 18 years or over.
  • Competition is open to UK residents only.
  • Entry into this competition confirms your acceptance of these Terms and Conditions
  • The winners will be selected at random from all the correct entries received before the closing date and time.
  • All prizes must be accepted as offered. There can be no alternative awards, cash or otherwise.  
  • There will be one winner who will receive the product(s) featured in the above post
  • The PR is responsible for prize fulfillment.

Good Luck!

Threaders Quilting Starter Kit

Disclaimer: Some of the products featured above have been sent to us for this post and to create the quilt in this campaign. The finished quilt will be donated to Project Linus UK.

Friday, 29 June 2018

Milton Antibacterial Hand Gel {Giveaway}

School is out for summer! With both children home all the time I know we are going to have so much more cleaning to do. It seems to triple over the holidays in our house. With that in mind we are bringing you a new giveaway today with Milton.

Milton first began in 1967 with the Milton products being used in the trenches of the First World War to treat skin burns. After the war ended Milton became a household brand for it's use as an antiseptic and disinfectant. In the 1940's there was an outbreak of  gastroenteritis, which caused the deaths of 4,500 babies aged below one. After this Milton developed their cold water sterilisation method Which saved thousands of babies. Today Milton have a full range of products that are perfect for both at home and on the go.

One of the products from the Milton range is the Antibacterial Hand Gel. With summer bringing a whole lot more days out as a family I know that hand gel quickly becomes an essential that I keep in my bag. This Milton Antibacterial Hand Gel comes in two sizes, a larger bottle which is perfect for keeping near where you change baby and a smaller bottle that is perfectly sized for on the go use. With the ability to kill 99.9% of germs in just seconds! There isn't much more you will need from an antibacterial hand gel. One thing I do find with antibacterial gels is that they dry my hands out really badly, not a problem with the Milton Antibacterial Hand Gel! Milton's gel has added moisturising agent to help soften and protect your skin.

Both of the Milton products are just perfect for summer. With little ones around there is always going to be something that needs cleaned up. With the messes at home the Milton Antibacterial Surface Spray will be perfect for combating and disinfecting any surface I need to. While the Milton Antibacterial Hand Gel will be a life saver when we are out on day trips and can't find baby changing or D has grabbed something he shouldn't! Perfectly sized to pop in the changing making it great for us to use while out and about. 

You can purchase  Milton Antibacterial Hand Gel 500ml (RRP £5.99) and Milton Antibacterial Hand Gel 100ml (RRP £1.39) at most major supermarkets, Boots (click the links to shop), Ocado, Superdrug, Babies R Us, Kiddicare and Precious Little One.

Milton have been very kind and offered one of our readers the chance to win a travel sized Antibacterial Hand Gel (100ml). 

For  your chance to win you can enter using the Gleam widget below. Do take a read through our terms and conditions before entering. 

Good luck!

Terms and Conditions 

  • Entrants must be aged 18 years or over.
  • Competition is open to UK residents only.
  • Entry into this competition confirms your acceptance of these Terms and Conditions
  • The winners will be selected at random from all the correct entries received before the closing date and time.
  • All prizes must be accepted as offered. There can be no alternative awards, cash or otherwise.  
  • There will be one winner who will receive the product(s) featured in the above post
  • The PR is responsible for prize fulfillment.
Good Luck

Milton Antibacterial hand gel competition

Thursday, 28 June 2018

The Siblings Project {June}

 This month I am running a little lot later than usual with our Siblings Project. I love doing this post. In the moments when D and S are really getting along, being adorable and building up their little relationship it's easy to watch and forget about them for a while. They have so many moments that sometimes I can lose sight of the little things. Writing our Siblings post always reminds of great little moments from the month when it's just the two of them together. 

I love watching as D and S start to change their relationship when their abilities grow. This last month S has changed so much and gained the freedom of movement when it comes to walking. D has taken her walking and pretty much ran with it, literally! If they really want to sit an play together with a toy or two D will help her up and hold her hands to help her walk along on the wooden floor in socks. They sit down and have a little play after and this was the moment just after they had done it for the first time.

As the weather has been so beautiful we've spent a good bit of this month outside enjoying all the rays we can catch. Usually we head to a park and they both play. I have found that they are playing mostly separate on different equipment which is suited to their individual ages. I do feel that we need to incorporate more things they can do together as well as games we can all play. One of those is bubbles. Who doesn't love bubbles? Both D and S adore popping bubbles and D is just starting to do bubbles himself which is a perfect combination. 

The final photo from this month is from a very recent evening out for a walk where we found some ducks, ducklings and swans. The whole time we had been here D and S just watched, played and talked to each other all about the ducks and water. We had been prying them away well after bedtime! 

We are in the last few days of school now and I am really looking forward to all the fun and adventures that the summer will hold for D and S and what their little moments will include!

The Siblings Project - Dear Beautiful
Monday, 25 June 2018

Project 365 Week 25 {10th June - 16th June}

Sunday 10th June {Day 161}

Monday 11th June {Day 162}

Tuesday 12th June {Day 163}

Wednesday 13th June {Day 164}

Thursday 14th June {Day 165}

Friday 15th June {Day 166}

Saturday 16th June {Day 167}

Phew! It's been another crazy week for us. D has been enjoying the crazy wind down time for school since we are officially into the final week. How is it possible that I almost have a little boy in primary 2? This week did see us celebrate Father's Day with a meal out, A grand opening for a local play area, leisure centre and other facilities, a family visit, cake baking, Sports day along with a day or two at home. The sun has came back too so we will be out enjoying all it has to offer us up for the next while! I'm looking forward to enjoying this last week of school and this next week should be when we do S's cake smash! Eeekk! 

Did you get up to anything this week?

Thursday, 21 June 2018

Pukka Fun Interactive Colouring Books 4D from Pukka Pad {Review}

The summer holidays are almost upon us. For us there is only 8 school days left this year! With that in mind I have been thinking about what we are going to do to keep our days fun and exciting. We have a whole heap of days out planned but we really can't be out every day and when we do end up at home we need some ideas on what we can do with D. That is where Pukka Pads come in.

Pukka Pads are a well known and very well loved stationary brand who bring great quality products to us both online and in stores all over the UK. It all started back in 1999 with Chris Stott who founded Pukka Pads. Since then they have grown to include a large selection of great products for all us stationary lovers. They even have a whole range for children, the Pukka Fun range.The latest product in their range is from the Pukka Fun range. Their new Interactive Colouring Book 4D.

They have a whole selection of books to choose from in two age ranges. The first age range for the Pukka Fun Interactive colouring book 4D is 6-8 Years. We received the Pukka Pad Baby Animals Interactive Colouring Book 4D from this range. There is also a Race Day and Dinosaurs editions available too.

The second age range for these interactive colouring books is 9-12 years. We have received two of the books from this range which are the Pukka Fun Fantasy Interactive Colouring Book 4D and the Pukka Fun Space Interactive Colouring Book 4D. There is also a World Traveller edition available.

Each of the Pukka Fun 4D Interactive Colouring Books comes with 30 pages that can be scanned into the free app and brought to life through augmented reality! Each book contains 10 unique designs which gives your little ones the freedom to make their colouring as bright and different as they like. Since there is three of each interactive page they can create, play and create all over again. I love that when D is finished with one he can just start again and change it up to be completely different than the first. 

Although D is slightly younger than the age ranges for the Pukka Fun Interactive Colouring Books I think he has enjoyed them just as much. The younger range Baby Animals book was the first he tried out and he really loved to get stuck in without much direction from me and just colour to his hearts content. We did try to ensure that he coloured as much of the white areas as he could. The pages contain easy to colour pictures of the Baby Animals with bold outlines which helped D to stop before going too far outside the lines. I liked that to a degree there is already a large proportion of the page that has been shaded in the background. It just shows how well thought out each book in the range is.

The older range in the Pukka Fun Interactive Colouring Book 4D selection are much more detailed with smaller pictures. Some of the larger pictures have more smaller things on or around them like this one D enjoyed drawing from the Space Interactive Colouring Book 4D. D didn't colour the whole picture but he still tried his best to do what he could. He has since added a little on and seems to be enjoying the process of doing a little bit at a time and making these harder images come to life at the end of each colouring stage. It's rather nice to see how it's changing in the app each time.

Inside each of the Interactive Colouring Books 4D from Pukka Fun you can also find some non interactive pages. Some will be blank and have space for your child to create whatever they like. There is a large selection which have various activities from colour by number and spot the difference to mazes and more. Each of the activities is still based around the theme of each book with characters or animals used to incorporate the theme in the entire book.

Each book from the range has some story writing prompts too. The younger range has one page for each little 'write a story' section. D really loved writing a story about Baby Forest Animals and one page was really just enough for him at this age. The older range of the Interactive Colouring Books 4D gives you 3-4 pages for each of these 'write a story' sections. I like that each range has been tailored to really fit the children who will use it.

Using the Pukka Fun 4D Interactive Colouring Books is really easy. When you have your first book from the range you can scan the code on the cover to find the app in both the Android and the Apple app stores. Once downloads you will need to scan an interactive page from the book to allow it to unlock and download onto your device. I do recommend doing this before you start the colouring. I found that it took some time for each book to download. D was not very patient with me at this stage. He was really excited to make his creation come to come life! Once you have downloaded the book and coloured in your picture all you need to do is scan the page. It's so easy D can do it himself! Ensure you capture the whole page and the rectangle turns blue. If your too close it will be red. After a second or two your creation will come to life with every line, and detail!

I was pretty amazed at just how well the Interactive Colouring Books App was able to pick up and detect such great detail! D coloured his elephant with some single lines of varying colours in varying shades and each and every one was picked up on the app. Any white areas from the page show up in a grey colour on the app. D liked this little feature as he didn't want any white to show up and the grey used is just the right shade to blend with most colours too. I think that the degree of detail achieved is really impressive. It is not only a great feature for children of D's age and just older but it is also a great feature for older children who are starting to experiment with shading and texture in colouring. Since each detail shows up so well it isn't recommended to use felt tip pens to colour in the Pukka Fun Interactive Colouring Books, I do think you would lose a fair amount of detail if you did.

I love that it isn't just the focus image that comes to life but also various background images too. In our elephant image there was a tree and at some points the little mouse appeared too! D was so excited when the mouse was there too as he had taken time to colour it in.

Two of the interactive pages in all the Interactive Colouring Books 4D range from Pukka Fun contain games. When these are Scanned into the app they will bring to life a whole different type of page which allows you to play a mini game! D was so excited when he got to play racing with the Baby Animals. Not only can you play this little mini game but it actually uses the images that you have scanned into the app for the characters and their surroundings! I was rather impressed with this. During the Baby Animal game D ran through all four of the background areas from the animals that you can choose to play. The older games are more advanced and one of my favourites is from the Fantasy Interactive Colouring Book which is an archery type game. Yes, I too played with the app!

I wasn't quite sure what I was going to expecting from this range of Interactive Colouring Books 4D from Pukka Fun but I am really impressed. There is so much selection in each book and I know that these will keep D busy on many rain days at home this summer. I may even have to pack one up with on day trips that have a lot of travel as they would be perfect for keeping him occupied. I always have my phone with me too so he can play anytime he likes since it is entirely offline after you have downloaded the book.

If you have a child aged between 5 right up to 12 then I highly recommend these Interactive Colouring books 4D from Pukka Fun. They are jam packed with fun activities, colouring and more to keep your children entertained for hours on end. As I said they are perfect for days out, days at home, when you visit family and they would be perfect for long flights if your headed on holiday this summer.

You can purchase the books in the Interactive Colouring Book 4D from Pukka Fun range at an RRP of £9.57 each, You can purchase all three of the books we have shown above including, Baby Animals Edition, Space Edition and Fantasy Edition.

Disclaimer: We received the products featured in this post in return for our open and honest opinion. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this post are entirely our own. 
Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Project 365 Week 24 {10th June - 17th June}

Sunday 10th June {Day 161}

Monday 11th June {Day 162}

Tuesday 12th June {Day 163}

Wednesday 13th June {Day 164}

Thursday 14th June {Day 165}

Friday 15th June {Day 166}

Saturday 16th June {Day 167}

It's been such an amazing week for us. We have been super busy from the get go with S's Birthday being on Tuesday we had a whole lot to do on Monday. I really don't think we stopped all day. It's harder to prepare for a birthday with two little ones to keep an eye on, entertain and avoid cake mix ending up everywhere. We had planned to do a bit on Sunday but we needed to pick up a new phone and had a little stop at the park. We spent her birthday at soft play with the plans for a birthday party next weekend. I prefer that we spend birthdays just us 4 and make them a little special. A big deal for just them. 

Not only did we celebrate S's first birthday this week but we also collected D's very first pair of glasses. He got his eyes tested last week and we took Thomas BB8 to choose the pairs D wanted. They had to be sent off and made to fit his needs. We had a bit of trouble with S's very thin face and he almost needed to wear glasses made for much younger children but we found two pairs that fit fairly well. He is very excited about wearing them and I think he looks rather dashing in them!

The end of the week didn't see us slowing down too much with a relaxing shopping trip, well as relaxing as toy shopping can get! Follow by a stop for coffee and a little break. Saturday D and I went out to discover Pokemon GO. Yeah we are so very behind the times but he is Pokemon obsessed and I just had to how him it! He loves it by the way. 

How has your week been? 

Hope you had a lovely Father's Day.

Friday, 15 June 2018

A Letter To My Little Girl at One Year Old

Dear S,

I can't call you Baby S anymore. Your officially a toddler! How on earth has that happened?

You are one! A whole year old. It's so hard to believe. Who knew it was going to come around so quickly?

I have a little tradition that every year on D's Birthday I write him a special letter. It's just something from me to him and now that you have turned one I am writing you a special letter too. 

Just over a year ago I had no idea when you would be arriving. Every hospital trip brought with it something new to think about, worry about and to add to the mounting pile of things we needed to watch out for. Everyone was prepared for a long labour and we even prepared for the possibility you would be born through a c-section. Looking back it all seems so scary now. A big comfort was that it would all be very well planned. That was until you decided that you'd had enough. I had one hell of a wake up call that morning! As did everyone else in our house. Thankfully everything went really well and it was 'as textbook as it could get' whatever that means? I think it went well anyway!

At 36 weeks I was terrified that we wouldn't get to be together right away. You had been considered premature. I remember asking in terror when we entered the delivery room if you would be okay. I remember saying "It's too early!" At that point it didn't really matter that it was early. You where making your grand entrance if I was ready for it or not. What a grand entrance it was too. You quite literally came into the world standing on your own two feet!

You've decided that you are continuing through life on your own two feet as well. Your so head strong and independent. Your trying so hard to walk for longer and longer now and if there is a way for you to do something without help you will give it a try. Your so full of determination, it both fills me with pride and terrifies me!

It is amazing to think that this time last year you where only a few days old and we hadn't even left the hospital yet. It feels as though you have been with us forever now. Looking back it's hard to remember what our life was like before you arrived. You truly have completed our little family. your

We have all loved getting to know you in this past year. Your such a bubbly little girl who loves to laugh. D is your idol and he just adores you. He calls you his "Little Princess" and tells everyone so proudly that you are his baby sister. I don't think that will ever change. You will forever be his little baby sister and I look forward to seeing how your relationship grows and changes as you both grow older. I can't imagine a time when you aren't as thick as thieves.

You have so many likes. The latest is that you really love trying to climb things. Much to my dismay! Your so steady and have great balance especially when your walking or climbing up on things. I know that one day I am going to scream when I find you climbing somewhere you really shouldn't be.

I've watched you reach so many milestones, some have been amazing while othrs ave felt just a little bittersweet. Each has carried it's own swell of pride and emotions before we celebrate each one. Much to your delight! Each is of course followed by my five million photos to mark each one! I am sure by the time you read this you expect no less. You are so clever already. You are smashing through your milestones so much faster than your brother. 
I'm looking forward to everything that is still to come. We have so much more to learn about you and your likes, dislikes and so much more. 

Love Mummy x

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